Carlos Celdran’s guilty verdict “offending religious feelings”
this is the court’s official judgement on the case convicting carlos celdran as guilty of ‘notoriously offending religious feelings”:
we are not a lawyer and these are the points we like to raise on the decision of the court:
- how did the court measure and define “religious feelings”? it’s hard enough to measure and define “feelings” on its own, it gets much harder to define “religious feelings”
- the plaintiff presented a total of 4 witnesses, is 4 enough to define “religious feelings”? and do these feelings represent the whole catholic church? 4 does not make a whole church
- since this concerns feelings of the religious, why did the plaintiff not present the head of the catholic church for the court to measure and define feelings?
here is a brilliant answer to the court’s decision:
full text :
i believe you are still quite incensed about today’s verdict on comrade carlos celdran’s case. i can certainly understand how you feel.
while reading the decision of judge bermejo, i searched for justification for carlos’ conviction. remember that he was prosecuted for the crime of offending the religious feelings under article 133 of the revised penal code. art. 133 states that the penalty shall be imposed “upon anyone who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.” there has been a lot of back and forth on social media about how backward and stupid this law is. regardless, the fact is that this law exists and can correctly be the basis for conviction if it should be proven that a person was indeed guilty of it.
question is, is carlos celdran guilty? as i said, i think judge bermejo failed to establish a basis for the conviction. note that the law does not criminalize any instance of offending religious feeling. the law requires that the act should be notoriously offensive. what does this mean?
in the case of people vs. reyes, et al. (gr no. l-40577), the supreme court held that “the construction of a fence, even though irritating and vexatious under the circumstances to those present, is not such an act as can be designated as ‘notoriously offensive to the faithful’ as normally such an act would b a matter of complete indifference to those not present, no matter how religious a turn of mind they might be.” note that in this instance, the accused arrived at a venue for pabasa, “carrying bolos and crowbars, and started to construct a barbed wire fence in front of the chapel. xxx a verbal altercation ensued. when the people attending the pabasa in the chapel xxx, they became excited and left the place hurriedly and in such confusion that dishes and saucers were broken and benches toppled over.” the supreme court instead convicted the accused under art. 287 for unjust vexation.
in the case people vs baes (gr no. l-46000), justice laurel, in his dissent, explained how an act could be considered as notoriously offensive: “i believe that an act, in order to be considered as notoriously offensive to the religious feelings, must be one directed against a religious practice or dogma or ritual for the purpose of ridicule; the offender, for instance, mocks, scoffs at or attempts to damage an object of religious veneration; it must be abusive, insulting and obnoxious.” bear in mind that carlos was actually making fun of damaso, a fictional character. his act was not directed against religious practice or dogma. neither was it directed at a religious ritual since mass was not being celebrated at the time that he staged his protest. and even if he were making fun of priests, an act that is not unequivocally shown by the mere raising up of a damaso sign, the test set by justice laurel is still not met considering that priests are not objects of religious veneration (unless the priests present at the time actually think they are).
finally, in the case people vs. nosce (gr no. l-41757), where the accused went so far as to slap a priest in front of a large congregation, the supreme court held that such act did not merit a conviction under art. 133 but is more properly punished under art. 359 for slander by deed.
in the case carlos celdran, judge bermejo characterized the instances of “notorious offenses” to religious feelings thus:
for witness no. 1: “however, it did not take long when she realized that such was not part of the activity, and proceeded in front to find out what happened. she then saw somebody taking the accused and there was already a commotion since he started shouting inside the church. witness was offended and was angryof what happened, since it was a solemn activity which was disrupted and disrespected by accused.”
for witness no. 2: “witness cacal explained that the word ‘damaso’ pertains to a priest, who committed something against the church. although she admitted that she did not know the meaning of the word, however, she claimed that every timeshe hears the word ‘damaso’ it is very traumatic for her.”
for witness no. 3: “he was surprised, offended and angry, since he did not expect such incident will happen, considering it was a solemn celebration.”
comrades, obviously they are a bunch of ultra-sensitive nitwits. it is obvious as well that judge bermejo is either unacquainted with the definition of “notorious” or he has an extremely low treshhold for offense. unfortunately, judge bermejo, under such cognitive and emotional challenges, now proposes to send a man to jail.
it is painfully obvious that the notoriety of offense warranted by art. 133 is not present in this case. this only goes to show, comrades, that we must renew our efforts toward the revolution. we must be ever watchful, especially when the religious are just as happy to lend an invisible cloak to tyranny just so they can vindicate their petty grievances.
charity. indeed. viva la revolucion! and off with their heads!
dear great leader